Darien police chief: Unlocked car thefts lead to ‘crimes of violence’

Darien Police Station

Darien Police Station

Darien Police

DARIEN — Police Chief Donald Anderson has issued a strong statement urging residents to lock their doors, saying he didn’t want to have to say, “I told you so.”

He said Darien investigators have connected a juvenile car burglary suspect from an unlocked vehicle incident in Darien to a dangerous shooting incident in another Connecticut jurisdiction.

“We are actively investigating many of our other similar incidents with a fair measure of anticipated success. Our officers are out there patrolling all of our neighborhoods, especially during the overnight hours,” he said.

Anderson said many of the stolen cars taken from Darien have turned up in some of Connecticut’s larger cities like Waterbury, Bridgeport and New Haven as well as in New York and New Jersey.

“They most assuredly have been used in many crimes, including crimes of violence,” Anderson said.

He said on Dec. 8, a Waterbury police officer was shot while investigating a stolen vehicle incident. The officer was shot as the car sped toward them.

“Thankfully, his life was saved by his ballistic vest and quick medical treatment. Apprehensions were made and additional arrests are expected. So, my question today to our residents is this: What will it take?” Anderson said.

The Connecticut police officer who was struck by gunfire during a chaotic scene that unfolded as police tried to arrest a kidnapping suspect was shot by a fellow officer, officials said Wednesday, Dec. 9.

The bullet struck the officer’s bullet-resistant vest, which saved him, Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said, adding that the officer, Charles Mauriello of the department’s auto theft task force, was home from the hospital and recovering.

During a recent stolen car incident in Darien, a suspect attempted to ram a police cruiser while trying to evade capture.

“So, what will it take? It will simply take a second to ensure that your vehicle is properly locked with all of your valuables secured. It is seemingly a very easy request when measured up against what could occur. I am quite reasonably apprehensive that any one of these preventable incidents could again put our officers, our residents or any member of the public in imminent or grave danger,” Anderson said.

Darien Police continue to report motor vehicle crimes.

On Dec. 7, at about 6 p.m., officers responded to BMW of Darien for the report of a stolen vehicle. A customer had dropped off a 2019 BMW X5 at the dealership for service at approximately 11 a.m., leaving the keys inside. When dealership staff went to retrieve the vehicle, police said it was missing. Surveillance footage showed an individual, unknown to dealership staff, enter the vehicle and drive it away at 11:30 a.m., police said.

Several cars were burglarized from Dec. 9 through Dec. 13, with unlocked vehicles rummaged through, police said. One had a tennis bag stolen that was later recovered nearby, police said. Another resident on Hollow Tree Ridge Road was unloading his trunk using several trips and during one of the trips inside, a set of tools was stolen from his trunk, police said.

Darien Police also recovered a stolen car on Dec. 10. Officers responded to the report of Mitsubishi Mirage that had been parked on the street for approximately three weeks, having never moved. A check of the vehicle’s registration revealed it had been stolen out of Bridgeport on Nov. 20, police said. The vehicle was towed from the scene and turned over to the Bridgeport Police for processing.